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October 13, 2009

Skaneateles, NY

Skaneateles (pronounced skinny-atlas or skanny-atlas to my ears) is an interesting small town that is filled with small shops, restaurants, a bakery, and boutique-like businesses. When I take photo-trips, I like to stroll the sidewalks of downtown areas and try to figure out what is making it either work or fail. I think a lot of towns & cities could learn a lot from Skaneateles, the mix of businesses and the presentation makes it an appealing place to visit.

The pier is located adjacent to the downtown area, just off Clift Park. I shot this scene after breakfast one morning last week. At the time, I commented that this scene could be the center of a masterclass in composition. There were a lot of elements to the scene and a lot of choices to make. A friend stood next to me and photographed the same scene and had a different take on it, actually was quite a bit better because I had concentrated on the background while he composed the scene to include a vertical wall and another horizontal leading edge in the lower right corner foreground. It made for a nicer composition because of the lines working together to give more interest.

For this image, I used luminosity masks to make separate self-feathering selections for the midtones, light, and dark areas of the image and applied curves to adjust the tones. Doing this, I was able to bring out the bright areas of the lake. You can read more about luminosity maskes at Tony Kuyper's tutorial where he offers some easy to use actions that will build the masks for you. Recently, a friend mentioned using the Selective Color tool in Photoshop, so I tried this out to give the photo a subtle aqua tone to the lake whereas it was just a bit more cyan/blue in the original.